Monty Panesar knows Ashley Giles could displace him from the England team for the Ashes tour this winter but is looking forward to learning from the veteran spinner.
Warwickshire's Giles, 33, has been cleared to play against the Australians after a year out with a hip problem, but while Giles was on the sidelines, Panesar made a rapid transition from academy graduate to England’s number one spinner.
But 24-year-old Panesar, who flies out with the England squad on Friday, is glad to have some competition.
He said: "It’s the first time I’m going to be with Ashley Giles in a squad and it’s really good for me to learn from his experience and how he prepares — just everything really."
Despite being the man in possession as England’s current spin-bowling choice, Panesar, who played a big part in the victory over Pakistan in the last Test series, is taking nothing for granted.
"When I get out there, with the conditions and the different ball, I’ll need to show the form I have this summer so I’ve still got quite a bit to do," Panesar added.
"You’re not guaranteed a spot so I’ve got to try my best and leave the rest to the coach and the captain."
Panesar was speaking at the announcement of a three-year #10million extension to npower’s sponsorship of English cricket.
The Luton-born bowler said: "It’s investments like this which have helped the success the team has had.
"Npower has been a fantastic supporter of English cricket from playgrounds right to the top of the sport."
Panesar took time out to attend yesterday’s signing of the new deal between the sponsors and the England and Wales Cricket Board on a windswept bandstand at south London’s Ruskin Park.
The new deal will back all levels of English cricket, from the current England men’s and women’s Test teams to the future generation with an expansion of the Urban Cricket grassroots initiative.
Fans unable to get tickets when the Australians return for the 2009 Ashes series will also benefit with a repeat of the Cricket in the Park which saw big screens erected for last year’s Ashes triumph.
Ruskin Park will be the site of the first Urban Cricket Arena, to be completed in time for next summer — with others to follow in Birmingham and the North West — and Panesar, who has been involved in the scheme in Luton, said: "You can see the difference it is making. Hopefully, the relationship will continue to build to bring more players along."
Kevin Miles, managing director of npower, who have renewed their backing for the third time, said: "It’s a fantastic time to be a sponsor of cricket and a stunning time to be a fan. We think that cricket’s on a roll.
"It’s the overwhelming success of the Ashes which is allowing us to build a great relationship with the general public and to introduce children to the game in a way which has never been achieved before."
England batting star Kevin Pietersen is the official face of Urban Cricket and Miles added: "Tens of thousands of children are now getting involved and urban cricket bats are now being used from the playground into the parks and we are looking forward to seeing the facilities develop here and in other places."